A major winter storm is expected to overtake the Northland overnight leading to an all-day snow event Thursday and leaving a big dollop of new snow in its wake by Friday morning.
While the forecast is good news for skiers and snowmobilers, the storm could cause travel headaches at least into Thursday evening before the snow diminishes and ends by Friday morning.
The National Weather Service in Duluth said its entire coverage area of Northeastern Minnesota and Northwestern Wisconsin should see at least 4-8 inches of snow.
A heavier band of up to a foot of snow was expected to fall along a line from South Dakota through Minnesota's Arrowhead, including the Twin Ports.
And even more snow, up to 18 inches, is possible in pockets along a line from Brainerd through Grand Rapids and the Iron Range and on to Ely. Higher amounts also are possible along the higher elevations of the North Shore of Lake Superior, from Duluth to Grand Portage. East winds gusting to 25 mph could help add lake-effect snow to the totals and make travel along Lake Superior more difficult.
A winter storm warning is in effect until early Friday for the entire region.
Rain and freezing rain is possible in east-central Minnesota and western Wisconsin counties as temperatures warmed at midday Thursday, including along the Interstate 35 corridor between Hinckley and the Twin Cities, before turning back to all snow Thursday evening.
Temperatures are going to drop after the snow with highs only in the single digits forecast for Saturday, with cold wind-chill levels, but are expected to recover to highs in the 20s by Sunday and Monday.